Public Values

Ad campaign takes on violence against hospital workers

Twenty-three reported assaults in September alone at targeted hospital.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in TorontoTORONTO, November 10, 2008 — The ads may be moving, but the Ontario Public Service Employees Union is maintaining its outdoor media campaign to shame the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health into addressing workplace violence.

The bus shelters feature a photograph of a woman with a bruised face. The caption reads: "No more excuses: The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health must protect its staff from violence. It's the law."

The outdoor media is in response to ongoing violence at the hospital, including 23 reported assaults this September alone.

Upon request by Astral Media, the bus shelter ads will be moving from their present location across from CAMH's main entrance to take up positions about half a kilometer away east, west and north of the hospital.

"This campaign is a direct message to senior management at the hospital," says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the 130,000-member union. "The unions have been at the table with CAMH since 2004 to try and get a violence prevention program implemented. Twenty-three assaults in September indicate clearly that CAMH is failing in its obligations to staff and the patients they serve."

The Ministry of Labour has written orders to address workplace violence at CAMH, but OPSEU members say little meaningful improvement has taken place.

"Last week OPSEU and ONA held a press conference in front of CAMH to urge the hospital to make a serious commitment to this issue," said Thomas. "Instead of action, we just read about more excuses from CAMH in the media. Enough is enough."

OPSEU wants to be clear that it is not trying to stigmatize patients in the campaign, that workplace violence comes from a variety of sources, including other staff members.

The union says there is much CAMH could be doing — including staff training, personal alarms that work throughout the campus, thorough risk assessments, better staffing and clear policy directions and communications.

Links and sources
  OPSEU Campaign Shames CAMH to Take Action on Workplace Violence, Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU), November 10, 2008

Posted: November 12, 2008

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